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Are there some people who are just never content...?

(35 Posts)
KittyVonCatsworth Mon 26-Oct-15 15:05:05

And I may/ am definitely one of them I think but what makes contentment?

My husband and I have taken a 6 month career break and moved to sun, sea and R&R after a few stressful years in high powered jobs. Now I'm here, I'm bored. Bored shitless. We may move for the remainder of our time to Bali, but I'm concerned that it's just a matter of time before I'm bored there too.

We both have a shared hobby out here and are both finishing studies to keep the mind active but I don't know if it enough. We're only 2 months in and I want to go back to work already. However, I'll kick myself if we leave for home to work.

Is there such a thing as contentment over a long period of time and am I having a massive mid life crisis!

squoosh Mon 26-Oct-15 15:09:38

I think you're suffering from affluenza.

Are you in the sun because you want to be or because you think that's what you should want to be?

squoosh Mon 26-Oct-15 15:10:01

'where' you should want to be...

Axekick Mon 26-Oct-15 15:13:58

Some people definitely are never happy.

But I think a lot of it is down to the fact that everything seems more exciting when it's different.

Sometimes it's because people have unrealistic expectations expectations.

Sometimes people are so focuses on getting away from one problem, they forget life is never perfect.

I have a friend who hated work and couldn't wait to settle down as a sahm. She would never be bored etc.

She has been one for 3 years and hates it. Because she didn't take in to account that they would be one good wage down, couldn't afford 2 cars anymore, didn't have much spare money etc.

She thought the best bits of her life would be the same and the shit bits (her awful boss) would be gone.

KittyVonCatsworth Mon 26-Oct-15 15:18:46

Squoosh, I think affluenza doesn't really come into it in the materialistic sense...we literally owned nothing in the UK but instead spent all our money on travel as it's something we're both passionate about so we kinda thought moving out somewhere and experiencing it would satiate us.

green18 Mon 26-Oct-15 15:24:20

What a problem to have! hmm

KittyVonCatsworth Mon 26-Oct-15 15:24:53

I think that's it Axe, the fantasy, the planning, the anticipation is often better than the reality. I was a single mum for most of my (now adult) daughters life, where everything was a struggle until 5 years ago where I/we could do the things we wanted due to better jobs and prospects.

I try and keep a hold of reality by remembering the saving for a week holiday at Scarborough was a total luxury which is now frustrating because I'm doing exactly what I thought I'd want to do. Ach, I don't know.

squoosh Mon 26-Oct-15 15:26:38

Fair enough OP.

I know what you mean about the anticipation often being better than the reality. Same problems, different place kind of thing.

KittyVonCatsworth Mon 26-Oct-15 15:28:45

I know green, really I know but maybe it's not about contentment but about fulfilment. That's pretty relative to anyone...what's fulfils you and makes you content and why does that not work for some people. Not a problem as such, just a musing (not the right word in the fear of it sounding ungrateful).

green18 Mon 26-Oct-15 15:31:03

Maybe you are not doing what you really want but what you think you should do. I think sometimes people do things to tick boxes rather than because it gives them real personal contentment.

KittyVonCatsworth Mon 26-Oct-15 15:32:11

And that's it squoosh and axe, there were no real problems where we were. Apart from the stress, no time to do things we wanted etc. I think it actually comes down to neither one of us knows where we want our lives to be, what we want to do and at almost 40, that's kind of unsettling

wowis Mon 26-Oct-15 15:33:18

Hi Kitty,
I know exactly what you mean, there is something about needing a 'project' or something coming up because actually often when 'it' arrives its very quickly celebrated, if at all,then on to the next thing.

I think some of this comes from the pressure to be happy. When actually thats not our natural default position really.
I understand contentment isn't the same as happy but I do think if were not happy we then question it. Why am I not happy? What is wrong? etc this then focusses us on what were not happy about and so the viscious circle goes on.
I don't know if this is helpful or not but try reading the happiness trap by russ harris. It's based on ACT Aceeptance and comitmnent therapy and is brilliant. (I'm a therapist so use it professionally and personally!)
ACT in general is really good for this sort of stuff if youve never come across it and just helps you get your head out of your arse a bit. (technical term that one..)

Pootles2010 Mon 26-Oct-15 15:35:39

I think people need something to aim for, to strive towards. That's why people are always looking to that next holiday, Christmas, wedding, baby, whatever.

It's also why you get loaded wives of millionaires doing charity work - organising charity balls and such. It's human nature i reckon!

KittyVonCatsworth Mon 26-Oct-15 15:35:48

X post green...hit the nail on the head I think...not so much ticking the boxes though, more of we are more clueless than we were at 20 (when we both had young children, but not together). Is that a downfall of having kids young? When we should have been doing this when we were in our 20s we were parents and had major responsibilities and now we don't....fuck, it's chaos!

pinkdelight Mon 26-Oct-15 15:36:27

The ideal for me is work equating to play - having a job that, while not always fun, is the thing which you're good at, which can make you feel content and purposeful. I've read that the opposite of work isn't play, very often its depression. Work should be like play is to a child, where you're fully absorbed, not striving to get away. Doing nothing isn't stimulating. Some people seem to be fine lying in the sun, flipping through magazines etc but I suspect if you were high powered types then that's not for you. And even the people who like it tend to drink quite a bit to liven things up. I think it sounds like you've had enough leisure to unwind from the stress. Now maybe use the headspace and time to find your next challenge. Contentment isn't an ongoing state, unless you're a v accomplished Buddhist. You can sleep when you're dead...

bakingaddict Mon 26-Oct-15 15:36:35

It's about knowing what makes you tick....seems to me that perhaps you thrived on those high pressure challenges of your former job and this sitting on the beach isn't really you, it's everybody's ideal to sit on a tropical island paradise when they are stressed at work but the reality can be somewhat different.

Be easy on yourself, you just need more things to focus on and keep you busy than you have now. Are there any community projects you could get involved in or look to teach English where you are based. You've gone from one extreme to the other but just need to find a happier balance

green18 Mon 26-Oct-15 15:36:50

I do think that too many options makes things difficult. There is something to be said for having less choice because you do the best you can with what you have. Try the quick fire answer game and uncover the truth!! As in 'Friends' you ask a question with two choices and you answer immediately, normally your true feelings i.e UK or France? Dogs or cats? Does that make sense? wink

green18 Mon 26-Oct-15 15:41:08

I mean the TV programme 'Friends' and the game played by Phoebe to help Joey decide on something, I forget what. Got to be worth a play to at least pass the boredom of that sunny beach! wink

Axekick Mon 26-Oct-15 15:41:24

I remember having some far flung holidays in my twenties. With dh and dd, it never lived up to expectations.

So I re evaluated my expectations, I enjoyed the lead up and stopped expecting everything to be everything I wanted it to be and just enjoyed it for what it was.

Tbh I am not much younger than you. Still not entirely sure what I want from life past bringing the kids up.

I had dd at twenty and da at 29. Really really unsure what life will hold after life stops revolving around them

arethereanyleftatall Mon 26-Oct-15 15:43:27

I think the key to a happy life is balance. Too much of one particular thing, be it work/not work is boring .

KittyVonCatsworth Mon 26-Oct-15 15:45:43

Hi wowis, thanks for the rec...had a quick look on Amazon and the synopsis of the Happiness Trap...i must admit, I'm a bit put off at the reference to depression and anxiety as I honestly don't think that's the case for either one of us. I much prefer your technical term tbh!

When we told people what we planned on doing everyone was really supportive saying they wish they'd done it or had the balls to do it but I think there's maybe a lot of wisdom from the posters so far when they say it's the pursuit of happiness. Going to download the book and see how I get on with it and pass it to DH (he's much more into self help than I am!)

KittyVonCatsworth Mon 26-Oct-15 15:56:57

Farking hell, MN never fails to surprise me with posters who are quite/rather perceptive! Green, axe, pinkdelight, baking, arethere et al...how are you all so grown up <sob>!

I'm trying to get to a level where I can teach people to scuba dive...I know, I know...it's hardly setting the world on fire and 'community project' it certainly isn't, but I want to give what I have learned to another. Working out here in any capacity is out of the question (work permits) otherwise I'd do it!

Pinkdelight, we are both drinking (and falling out) a lot more than we ever did in our time together! It's interesting though you say the opposite of work isn't play...that's how the mentality is for us and I actually think you're closer to the truth.

wowis Mon 26-Oct-15 16:00:32

Hey Kitty,
honestly I think act just stops you naval gazing as much. I wouldnt be put off by the blurb, it just helps you stop questioning am i ok? maybe i'm not...was it this or that ? should I have done a instead of b? etc
Its all that looking externally to fix whats going on internally which we fall into. You always take you with you etc so if your relatively content you can be anywhere doing anything and its ok.
Obvs thats the ideal but theres defo something about heading in that direction that act helps me with and I use it with clients and its so well received.
Otherwise you disappear back up your own arse again trying to 'work it out' when there often isnt an answer as such. but its a 'work in progress' for me too (nicest way I can put my own little head fuck)

MrsLupo Mon 26-Oct-15 16:28:14

I think there are people who are never contented, and I also think you're more likely to have the life that you want if you can say with some clarity what that is, in other words that you've given some thought to what would make you happy rather than conforming to cultural norms as to what constitutes the good life.

But tbh kitty, you sound to me as though you're still bouncing back from the stress of what's gone before. Giving up high-powered, high-stress jobs to hang out on the beach for six months is a major change. Is it possible you're still actually quite stressed and just haven't started to relax and enjoy your new environment yet? And is it possible that you're craving a return to work just because that's familiar - you know where you are with workplace stress, whereas feeling stressed on a beach in the tropics just seems... wrong?

If I were you I'd give myself longer to daydream and find some kind of equilibrium before giving yourself up as a pathological malcontent.

I am madly envy by the way!!

LikeASoulWithoutAMind Mon 26-Oct-15 16:39:49

How long have you been there OP? Is it possible that you just need more time to unwind and relax into the change of pace?

Alternatively maybe you'd be happier doing some part time work - either paid or voluntary? Or having a more active break?

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